Archive for March, 2009

I went to GameStorm and some stuff happened

Monday, March 30th, 2009

First, The Free RPG Blog is rad. Just had to get that off my mind.

Now: GameStorm! The best thing about Portland’s largest game convention is that it’s smaller than anything in Seattle. This makes all the industry heavyweights who live in Seattle feel all relaxed when they come here. I’d tell you everything I gleaned in conversation as a result, but that’d end the relaxation pretty quickly.

Andrew and Kristin Looney of Looney Labs were guests of the con and waaaay overshared on their plans for the rest of the year – they told their secret Christmas gift, for crying out loud! But one thing I doubt they will mind me telling you about is Are You The Traitor?, a card game which, as you might guess from the title, plays in the are-you-a-werewolf? gamespace. It’s similar to Covert Action in some ways, but I found it easier to grasp – basically it’s a Werewolf/Mafia-ish experience for fewer players in less time. They’ll have it out for Origins, and even the haters are going to have to admit that it is freaking gorgeous.

Bucephalus Games was showing a whole lot of stuff coming out soon. I liked the look of Bill of Rights by Mike Selinker along with Teeuwynn Woodruff of D&D fame, and a Mr. Dan Tibbles. It’s kind of like Nomic Lite, but lots of games are like Nomic Lite… but Bill of Rights is more so. Also showing, not from Bucephalus but perhaps in a similar vein to Bill of Rights, was T.P.O.C. (The Politics Of Cannibals) by Stractical Concepts (not kidding about that name). Didn’t get a chance to play it, but any political game where you can throw swing voters into a cauldron of stew has something going for it.

I saw a game called Space Alert getting a good measure of play; apparently it’s from the designer of Galaxy Trucker and is along the same lines – build a spaceship, hope it doesn’t get torn to hell by stuff – but it’s co-op, way crazier, and timed by means of an included audio CD. It doesn’t have a US publication date yet.

On the RPG front, new releases were largely of the ashcan-and-leaflet variety. Be on the lookout for Advanced Sea Dracula Second Edition, though. And should you find yourself in one of those normal-people bookstores, check the humor section for Michael Fiegel’s Ninja Burger Employee Handbook, which he was showing alongside HELLAS but which doesn’t have hobby-channel distribution.

Lastly: Mutant Chronicles movie trailer. Certainly looks… like a movie.

OgreCave review – Exquisite Replicas

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

The reviews just keep coming around here, and this time, we’ve got Lee’s look at Exquisite Replicas by Abstract Nova. Lee lets you know if this game system right for your group, or if there’s something worthwhile to glean from it for your own games.

Asmodee update

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Asmodee recently dropped us a line to keep us updated on the company’s latest developments. Here’s what we know:

  • The sled racing game Snow Tails, a big hit at Essen last year, will arrive in stores in the U.S. this May. Briefly renamed Too Mush, the gaming community’s reaction convinced Asmodee to leave the name unchanged.
  • Bombay, the game of merchants seeking their fortunes on the streets of India, and Bakong, in which players will race to gather emeralds in the Cambodian jungle, will both be out in April.
  • Jamaica will return in a new box, and Asmodee is reprinting sets of Treasure Cards to give out at Origins and Gencon this year.

I still need to get my hands on the Sebring/Chicago map for Formula D. Those crisscross sections on the Chicago map scare me to no end, but I can’t look away…

Worldwide D&D Game Day this weekend

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Wizards of the Coast is all set for Worldwide D&D Game Day 2009 this Saturday, March 21st. The event is timed to promote Player’s Handbook 2, just released today – other Game Day events will accompany the releases of Monster Manual 2 in May and Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 in September. If you’re so inclined, drop by your local D&D Game Day event (find it through the WotC Game Day page) and join in an adventure.

Gen Con deadlines looming

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

If you’re on the fence about heading to Gen Con this year, there are a couple of upcoming deadlines to keep in mind. Event Submission – a big deadline for exhibitors – ends this Friday, March 20th, and Event Registration will begin (and rapidly fill, undoubtedly) on April 19th. Now that Gen Con LLC has sorted out its restructuring, the Lucasfilm lawsuit, and fended off the takeover attempt, the hope is that more focus will be put on making the “Best Four Days of Gaming” better than ever. Refer to the press release below for more info.
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Guilty plea in $1.5 million Decipher embezzlement suit

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

A few years ago, Decipher was one of the major game publishers in the industry, giving Wizards of the Coast a run for its money. Time went on, and several factors, including the company’s loss of the Star Wars CCG license back in 2002 led to Decipher being a much smaller presence in the game industry. Fans may remember another reason Decipher had troubles was embezzlement, to the tune of $1.5 million, which was stolen from the company over a nine year period by Decipher’s former vice president of finance, Rick Eddleman, brother-in-law to Decipher founder Warren Holland. Yesterday, Eddleman pleaded guilty in Circuit Court to 12 counts of embezzlement. He faces a maximum sentence of 12 years, and will be sentenced in June. The full newspaper story is below.
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Audio Report – Lists and holidays

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

As we continue to get caught up, the OgreCave podcast crew presents the long lost (well, long delayed, at least) end-of-2008 episode of the OgreCave Audio Report. Steve returns to tell us how the season treated him as a retailer, and how gift guides can have a big impact. Then we wade through all sorts of game talk, make our traditional Nostradumbass predictions, and wrap up for the year. When you have a minute, have a listen to this and any of our previous shows, and be sure to leave your comments here.

Paizo releases Pathfinder Compatibility License

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Hear that? It’s the call to battle between editions of Dungeons & Dragons, and Paizo Publishing has sounded the horn. Late yesterday, Paizo released a pair of licenses: the Pathfinder Compatibility License and the Paizo Community Use Policy. As the press release states, and as you probably guessed, the Pathfinder Compatibility License is Paizo’s version of the d20 License – it will let established and aspiring publishers alike sell game products for use with the upcoming Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The Paizo Community Use Policy will allow non-commercial users (read: fans) to create and share Pathfinder compatible material. Paizo will maintain a link registry for all community use content. Yeah, this relatively civil war is so on.

OgreCave reviews – World War 5 & Basic Roleplaying

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

We’ve got a pair of new reviews to keep you busy today. First, Lee takes a close look at World War 5 from Looney Labs, a light strategy game of world domination, and a Treehouse/Icehouse add-on product. Then Demian give us his thoughts on Basic Roleplaying from Chaosium – the full, massive book version, not the tiny version from a few years back. Is WW5 worth picking up? Did Demian slam the recent Basic Roleplaying like he did with the 2002 version? Click through to find out, or browse our other reviews if you like. [Edit: links straightened out now, thanks]

Audio Report: Autumn madness

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

As it was held hostage for a time by real life woes and computer wackiness, we’re pleased to finally present this recently arrived refugee episode of the OgreCave Audio Report. Held over from just before the Christmas season, this episode hit right after the WizKids implosion, which Mike and I discuss along with the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game and numerous other subjects. We’ll have one more 2008 holdover episode before jumping into 2009 and a slightly revised show format, so watch this space over the next couple of days. Be sure to have a listen to all the stuff we’ve been saying, and tell us what you think of all this nonsense.

Trio of new Atlas game expansions

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Atlas Games has posted product pages and card lists for expansions to three of their games – Gloom, Let’s Kill!, and Mad Scientist University. Let’s Kill!, one of the few games I’ve seen that threatens its publisher, is set to receive the Crime Scene Instigation set. The expansion will add Law Enforcement icons to certain victims, and Psychosis cards to change how the game plays. MSU will benefit from taking Spring Break, which will provide Gimmick cards to change up the plans of mad scientist students. As for Gloom, fans of the dreary experience should prepare for Unfortunate Expeditions. The new set will add new Characters, Modifiers, Events, Deaths, and a new card type, the Expedition card, which – you guessed it – will change how the game plays when in effect. Release dates are still to be announced.